The photo is the cover-page of a battered, but still clearly readable church magazine and I found it whilst searching through a folder full of bits and bobs given to me as keepsakes, not what I was looking for, but, it certainly made for interesting reading. Today’s, magazine is called Tides and Tidings, not so formal, with lots of news of comings, goings and happenings; today’s usually had 24 pages, the 1906 one – just 3.
What is obvious from those 3 pages is that church, church number 3, bigger and more ornate than the first church consecrated around 1199, and it’s successor which had to be pulled down having become unsafe due to mining/ quarrying work in the area, was struggling to pay its way, and what is more, to finish paying for its building. Poor church, another 7 years down the line and church #3 was razed to the ground by a mysterious fire. Unfortunately it wasn’t fully insured so … rebuilding church #4 was really a struggle, a burden no one was rich and the Great War came along in 1914… So the present church was not rededicated until September 1923.
History repeats, so they say, but I hope, God willing that Church #4 will be around for many years to come .. It just seems to me that we are struggling against impossible odds, sometimes. As it is with church buildings so it can be with us, at such times of struggle I find this little prayer helps, the words are not mine and I cannot locate their author but they say a lot, and are a solace.
“The burden is not mine to bear,
It is the Lord’s and He will share
The weight and cause my soul to rest,
Knowing that He alone knows best
The way to lead me on in faith
To hold His hand and trust is safe,
Trust Him His promises to keep,
Dwell in His love for me so deep.
O search me Lord and try my ways,
Teach me to live through all my days
In holy fear and love for Thee,
With simple faith: my earnest plea.
To live according to thy
perfect will, my life thy
Heart with pleasure fill.
So lead me Lord ’til at thy throne I give thee
Back what is Thine own.
Precious though church buildings, bricks and mortar are, they are not as precious in God’s sight as one trusting soul who trusts and kneels, and submits all to Him.